Kids Safe Summer Safety Tips
Summer is in full swing and the new season presents new worries and challenges for parents. With children out a school and playing outdoors, keep these safety tips in mind and have a safe and happy summer.
ON THE ROAD
- Remind your children of traffic dangers. Don’t chase a ball into the street without being absolutely sure that the coast is clear. Look left, right and then left again before entering the street.
- If you and your child become separated in a public place, make sure they know to seek out a uniformed police officer or security guard. If a stranger approaches them, they should call for help. In a worst case scenario, they should seek out a mother with children.
- Take care at the pool. Children shouldn’t be left unattended near pools, even crowded public pools. Keep a watchful eye on your children as they swim and be sure they are capable swimmers before they hit the water.
- When boating, make sure that your child is equipped with a life jacket before they go on the dock. Life jackets should be worn at all times around water and should fit properly. An ill-fitting life jacket may do more harm than good if your child ends up in the water.
- Whether in the pool or ocean, make sure your children take frequent breaks while swimming. They may realize they are exhausted until they have gotten into a perilous situation. Even very strong swimmers need to rest often.
- Pool toys are fun, but they are not a substitute for emergency equipment. Make sure that children are equipped with flotation devices and that life preservers and other safety equipment is nearby.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
- When applying insect repellent to small children, check labels for high concentrations of DEET. The toxic substance can be harmful if applied to the face or hands. As an alternative, choose repellents that use the non-toxic ingredient picaridin.
- Beware of ticks in wooded areas. Wear light colored clothing so ticks are easily identified. Do a thorough tick check after spending time in the woods, including under clothing. If you find a tick on your child, remove it carefully by the mouth with tweezers. Don’t use your bare hands.
- Teach your children how to identify and avoid poison ivy. Exposure to the plant’s oil can cause itchy skins, redness, hives and blisters. Treat poison ivy exposure with oatmeal baths and cold showers. Prescription topical medications may be required for severe cases. Remember: leaves of three, let it be.
- Be mindful of unattended drinks. Bees can fly into open soda cans or other beverages. If a bee lands on you, don’t make sudden movements. Blow air on the bee to get it to move away.
- Keep your kids away from the grill. Place your grill in a location out of the way and remind children about the dangers of getting too close. Don’t leave plates or utensils dangling near your grill.
- Warm weather can lead to increased cases of food poisoning. Make sure that perishable food items aren’t left out for extended periods of time. If your child goes to camp or somewhere that requires a bagged lunch, make sure it is packed in a cooler with sufficient ice.
BEAT THE HEAT
- Hydration is important in warm weather, especially in children. Make sure that your children are properly hydrated with water or sports drinks. Caffeinated beverages can have a dehydrating effect. Products like Pedialyte can be used to quickly rehydrate children.
- If you keep your windows open during the summer, be sure to install window guards to prevent the possibility of a child falling. Most are easy to install. Choose window guards with quick release buttons for emergencies. Don’t count on screens to prevent falls.
- Avoid the harmful effects of the sun’s rays by using sun screen. Check the label of your sunscreen. It should protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t skip the sunscreen on cloudy days. Apply insect repellents after sunscreen for optimal results from both.
- Never leave children in cars unattended. The temperature in the cabin of a sitting vehicle can rise quickly. Children are especially prone to overheating. Remove them from the vehicle before worrying about groceries or packages.
- In the height of the summer heat, avoid planning strenuous or outdoor activities for midday. Instead, plan those activities for before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
- Sunscreen may not be enough protection for your child. Consider dressing your children in hats and sunglasses before exposing them to prolonged sunlight. The eyes are just as susceptible to the sun’s rays as the skin.
- To help avoid bug problems, refrain from using heavily scented soaps, shampoos or other beauty products on your kids, which attract pests. Bright colors and flowered print clothing may also attract insects.
- Supervise children closely during outdoor play. Remind them about the danger of talking to strangers and instruct them to never approach a vehicle on the street.
- Be mindful of sleepover parties. Parents should know who lives in a house, including older siblings and relatives, before they send their child to sleep over with a friend. Be certain that adult supervision will be provided throughout the night.
- Make sure your children know not to accept gifts, candies or other treats from strangers. Teach your children to get your permission before accepting anything.
- Don’t allow your children to wear clothing, jewelry or other items that have their name on them. Strangers may use that information to coerce your children.
- Establish a contact in your neighborhood who your child can go to in the event of an emergency. This person should be trustworthy and equipped with pertinent phone numbers and other vital family information.
PLAY IT SAFE
- Don’t let your children bike unsafely. Helmets are an absolute essential. Thousands of children end up hospitalized with head injuries from biking every year. Make sure that your child wears a properly-fitting helmet intended for bicycling. An old hockey or football helmet isn’t designing to protect at the same impact points as a bike helmet.
- Make sure that your children play with age and size appropriate equipment this summer. For instance, small children playing on a jungle gym intended for older kids run a greater risk of being hurt. The same goes for over or under-sized bicycles. Stick to the manufacturer’s age recommendations.
- Play it safe when it comes to playgrounds. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that nearly 200,000 children are hospitalized due to playground accidents. Check that equipment is secure before your kids play. Choose playgrounds that have soft ground surfaces, such as rubber mats or wood chips.
- Keep your children aware from fireworks. Not only are they illegal in the state of New Jersey, but they also pose dangers like burns, scarring and other disfiguring injuries.
- If your child helps with yard work, make sure they know lawn mower safety. Outfit them with eye protection and teach them not to reach under a running mower to dislodge stuck items.
- At the park, inspect playgrounds and jungle gyms before your children play. Rust, sharp metal edges and broken play areas pose risks to kids and they may not be able to readily identify them.
- Teach your children about 9-1-1. Children should be comfortable using the phone and know their address and other important information to give to a dispatcher. Inform your children about what scenarios necessitate a 9-1-1 call.
[Kids Safe Summer was created in conjunction with our partner, Freehold Cartage.]